Russia hosted representatives from six countries on Feb. 15 for discussions aimed at encouraging the Taliban to negotiate with the Afghan government, TASS reported. Officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, China, Iran and India took part in the gathering, which came less than two months after a similar meeting between Russia, China and Pakistan. In hosting the gathering, Moscow is demonstrating its increasing interest in Afghanistan. The United States, for the second time in a row, was not invited. For Pakistan, attending meetings on Afghanistan that the United States is not a party to are key. Such gatherings allow Islamabad to show Washington that it has other countries to rely on for support in Afghanistan.